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Fewer Calories Slows Aging

Fewer Calories Slows Aging

(September 5, 2001)

Laboratory mice that reduce calorie consumption, even for a short time, avoid the majority of age-related diseases, said Stephen R. Spindler, a biochemist at the University of California, Riverside.

His latest research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2001, suggests for the first time that restricting calories for as little as four weeks can help avoid heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

A dietary regimen of under-nutrition without malnutrition is known as calorie restriction. It has been proven in many ways and by many researchers to extend lifespans in mammals, insects and worms. Now Spindler's team is reporting that calorie restriction produces chemical changes in the body, changes that could be duplicated with pharmaceuticals. "We have already started searching for such compounds," Spindler said.

Although humans are not mice, Spindler said these latest findings could point toward ways to help humans avoid diseases and shortened lifespans. "Our results provide the first way of rapidly screening for compounds that will mimic the effects of calorie reduction in laboratory animals," he said.

Other authors listed on the paper, entitled "Genomic profiling of short- and long-term caloric restriction effects in the liver of aging mice," are Shelley X. Cao, Joseph M. Dhahbi and Patricia L. Mote, all UCR researchers. The paper is available online at

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